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If you have been blessed by Outreach Israel Ministries and TNN Online during 2014, you can help us with a special year-end offering. Your support is a great blessing to us, as you will be making an effort to let us know that you appreciate our efforts of service. Help us enter into 2015 strong and with confidence to continue!

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In an effort to expand our outreach to the masses who are searching for and needing Messianic instruction, we are now offering online Bible studies, delivered by TNN Online editor J.K. McKee. Every Wednesday a new teaching which deals with pertinent topics for today’s Messianic Believers will be presented. For the most part, these studies will be focusing on specific books of the Bible, but may from time to time deal with critical subjects as well.

The online Bible studies are all pre-recorded and quite easy to access as MP3 files. This is much easier than having to log in at a preset time into PalTalk. These MP3 files can be listened to from your computer, or downloaded to an MP3 player or compatible CD player.

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DECEMBER 2014


Dear Friends:

Is 2014 really almost over? Have I really been back in Texas for two years now? These are two questions that have been circulating in my mind for the past several weeks, as time tends to quickly pass for those of us who are preoccupied with the work of ministry service. 2014 was surely an important year for Outreach Israel and TNN Online, with the projects that we completed, and with the things we have set out to do for 2014.

A huge assignment that was finished was the release of the 674 page Messianic Kosher Helper, and the 140 page condensed follow up Kashrut: Kosher for Messianic Believers. As I write this, the commentary Romans for the Practical Messianic is in its final stages of completion, as I would expect to see it released in both paperback and eBook by the end of the month. I am also presently writing the final chapter for Torah In the Balance, Volume II, and would anticipate an announcement for both Volumes I&II to be issued sometime in the First Quarter of 2015. Another announcement to look for will be how the past eight years of Outreach Israel News back issues have been compiled into eight paperback volumes!

I always stay very busy, as I recognize that the work Outreach Israel and TNN Online are very unique for today’s still-emerging and ever-maturing Messianic movement. Over the past month, a number of new FAQ entries have been added to the TNN site, with several others to soon be compiled. The two major projects in store for 2015, will be the Wednesday Night Bible Study on the letter of 1 Corinthians, and my coordinating the lengthy Messianic Sabbath Helper volume. On the side, I plan to steadily add new entries to the Bible Messages section. On the whole, I expect the same quantity of work for 2015, as I had in 2014.

One of the good things about 2014 is that although the broad Messianic community certainly experienced its fair share of ups-and-downs, that I personally had no real disappointments. 2014 was not a year “catching up” on half– or two-thirds-finished projects. Everything that I worked on was new. Everything that I am going to work on will be new. I might be on a “different track” than many peers my own age, but I am relatively content with the situation, both professional and personal, in which I find myself (Philippians 4:11).

Until next month…

J.K. McKee

 

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posted 18 December, 2014 to Facebook

A huge issue surrounding the holiday of Christmas involves the ideology of triumphantalism: Jesus or Yeshua is superior to all things, thusly questionable traditions like the Christmas tree and potential paganism mean nothing in light of Him.

There is a huge issue with this: this kind of practice is completely absent from the Scriptures. The Bible does indeed include many references to God being superior, and the power of God being subversive to paganism or human philosophy (cf. Colossians 1:15-20). But, one does not see specific rites from another religion adapted and reinterpreted with new, and apparently Biblical, meanings.

The Song of Moses of Exodus 15, is an excellent example of the kind of subversion that demonstrates God's superiority and primacy. While depicting God's judgment over the Egyptians, the Song of the Sea or shirat ha'yam also had a message to the Canaanites. Terms used in Canaanite religion for gods representing the forces of nature, are in fact nothing, and are in fact controlled by the True Creator God, the God of Israel.

The article "The Song of the Sea and God's Mission for His People" goes into further detail:

<http://tnnonline.net/torah/Song_of_Moses_and_Gods_Mission_for_His_People_SPRING.pdf>



posted 16 December, 2014 to Facebook

There will doubtlessly be many posts and memes about Christmas, both positive and negative, circulating around the broad Messianic community during the next week or so. The need to not just be Biblical, but also be fair and reasonable, is quite important.

The following is the entry for "Christmas," from the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Some of the assertions made are a bit "revealing," to say the least:

"From the OE {Old English} Cristes Mœsse. Not knowing the date of Christ's birth, the early Church sought one by combining calendrical speculations with the exegesis of biblical numbers. Several dates were suggested, including Mar. 25, Apr. 2, May 20, Nov. 8, Dec. 25, and Jan. 6. The earliest evidence, the Depositio martyrum, has the Feast of the Nativity being celebrated on Dec. 25 by the year 336 in Rome. Within a century this date was almost universally accepted.

"Dec. 25 marked, in the Julian calendar, the winter solstice (the beginning of the victory of light over darkness after the year's longest night) and, after 274, the feast of the birthday of Sol Invictus (the 'invincible sun'), patron deity of the emperor. The association between Jesus and the sun occurred early and naturally; Jesus rose on Sunday (the 'Lord's Day'). As early as Clement of Alexandria (d. 216) Jesus was being identified with the 'Sun of Righteousness' (Vulg. Sol Iustitiae) of Mal. 4:2 (MT 3:20) (Exhort. 11). A related early tradition identified Mar. 25, the 'Sunday' of creation week, as the date of Christ's conception (nine months before Dec. 25!). It was only natural that after Constantine had abandoned the patronage of Sol Invictus in 324, Sol Iustatiae, the light of the world, should supersede him."

Ronald V. Huggins, "Christmas," in EDB, 240.



posted 05 December, 2014 to Facebook

In several weeks, both the Jewish and Messianic Jewish communities will be commemorating Chanukah or the Feast of Dedication. Chanukah is far more than just lighting the menorah or eating fried foods; it is about remembering the Maccabean crisis of the Second Century B.C.E., principally contained in the Books of 1&2 Maccabees in the Apocrypha, also parts of 3 Maccabees and 4 Maccabees, as well as the record of Josephus.

I am presently finishing the lead article for the December 2014 OIM News today, "The Forgotten Past." Not knowing about the Maccabean crisis, and how it influenced the Second Temple world of Yeshua and the Apostles--is like not knowing about World War I and how it led to World War II.



posted 04 December, 2014 to Facebook

It was always my plan back in 2003, when Torah In the Balance, Volume I was released, to write a Volume II. I actually sat down in 2005 to start Volume II, and got as far as ch. 5, then I stopped. Part of this was my having just started seminary classes, but some of it was due to the status of various issues "out there" in the Messianic world of ideas.

Finally for these past two weeks, I read through Volume I, making a few tweaks here and there, and I read through Volume II, up to the last chapter, which is still to be completed. I am very happy that the end is in sight, and look forward to Torah In the Balance I and II being ready sometime in the First Quarter of 2015!



posted 02 December, 2014 to Facebook

One of the mainstay verses of apologetics, or defending the faith, is 1 Peter 3:15: "but sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." How much of what passes for apologetics really follows this impetus?

There is a need, for certain, to be able to defend a theological position--and do so well. "Taking down" an opponent, as it were, is not the objective; the objective is persuading an opponent, or at least getting an opponent to rethink his or her position. Much of this can only come about by explaining how you came to believe what you believe, the reasoning processes you undertook, the journey you followed--and then let God's Spirit do the rest.



posted 01 December, 2014 to Facebook

Everyone in the Messianic community believes that the Hebrew language has a beauty and uniqueness associated with it--from which we can all be blessed and edified. This is easily witnessed in the theological liturgy and prayers employed, as well as the many Hebrew songs--ancient and modern--seen in the broad Messianic movement.

Yet, it is still sometimes not recognized how Biblical Hebrew is a limited language, of human origin, with Semitic relatives like Ugaritic or Akkadian. Interpreting Hebrew is not always easy because it can be imprecise. While we surely encourage today's Messianic Believers to take Hebrew and study Hebrew, this needs to be conducted in a realistic manner.



posted 26 November, 2014 to Facebook

In the late 1960s, the modern Messianic movement arose in the time following the Israeli recapture of the Old City of Jerusalem, concurrent with a huge amount of spiritual shifting in Western evangelical Christianity. Messianic Judaism has done extraordinary things in seeing Jewish people brought to saving faith in Yeshua--who do not have to give up on their Jewishness!

By the 1990s, however, the Messianic movement began to attract a huge number of of non-Jewish Believers, who were being supernaturally drawn to their Hebraic Roots and to a Torah observant lifestyle. Aside from some of the complications present, getting non-Jewish Believers to appreciate their faith heritage in the Tanach (OT) and Judaism, is a tangible reality that is not going away.

Not all have recognized the dual mission of today's Messianic movement. Many have, but are struggling through many spiritual and theological issues. We have a limited window of time to consolidate ourselves, and make a difference--before the world gets very, very "interesting"...



posted 25 November, 2014 to Facebook

A question that we are asked from time to time concerns the title of our "Messianic Helper" series. We hardly got the idea by walking through the supermarket and seeing Hamburger Helper and Tuna Helper!

Much of the idea actually goes back to a plant management software utility, developed and marketed by the late Kimball McKee, called The Helper. The Helper was also available in various sub-units for different departments, as well as in a more streamlined version called The Apprentice, for smaller businesses.

The Helper included a dedication to Yeshua the Messiah, who promised His Disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).



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Last Updated 18 December, 2014